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Microscopy for the Conservator of Art and Artifacts (1206)

COURSE OUTLINE & SYLLABUS

This course covers the core polarized light microscopy curriculum and methods of sampling, characterization and identification of pigments, grounds, media and fibers.

Day 1
• Optics, reflection, refraction, contrast, resolution, numerical aperture, refractive index, crystal morphology and microchemical tests
• Identification, function, adjustment, care and cleaning of polarized light microscope components
• Köhler illumination, micrometry, measuring particle size, fiber diameters, pigment particle size and layer thickness

Day 2
Single polar crystal optics, refractive indices, methods of measurement, Becke line, pleochroism, dispersion staining

Day 3
• Crossed polar crystal optics, birefringence, compensators, Michel-Lévy chart, sign of elongation and extinction
• Fiber characteristics (vegetable, animal and man-made).

Day 4
• Sampling and mounting techniques, use of atlases and reference standards, identification of pigments (particle shape, surface, cleavage, isotropy, anisotropy, refractive index, Becke line, color, pleochroism, birefringence, etc.)
• Identification of media, surface coatings and glue
• Study of paintings, selection area, sampling and mounting techniques (cross sections and crushings), characterization and identification
• Microminiaturization and analytical procedures (ultramicrochemistry, micro solubility, micro density, micro refractive index, micro grinding, micro X-ray diffraction, particle-picking, micro extraction)

Day 5
• Photomicrography (illumination, selection and preparation of sample, precise focusing, exposure measurement and control)
• Special methods (phase, interference, fluorescence, electron microscopes, microprobes, chromatography, emission spectroscopy, mass spectrometry and dating methods)

Note: This course runs Monday through Friday. Class starts at 8 a.m. each day. Monday through Thursday, class ends at 5 p.m. Friday, class ends at noon.

There is no prerequisite for this course, and it satisfies the same prerequisites as course 1201.